Minister of Defence Ron Mark has departed for the Middle East and Africa.
While overseas the Minister of Defence will visit NZDF personnel deployed to the Multinational Force and Observers mission on the Sinai Peninsula, the United Nations Truce Supervisory Organisation on the Golan Heights, and the United Nations Mission to South Sudan.
He will also undertake bilateral meetings with his counterparts in Egypt, Israel and the United Arab Emirates, and will be accompanied by the Deputy Chair of the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, Hon Tim Macindoe.
“The Government has recently extended the mandates for these missions, so it is important for me to obtain further insights from those on the ground about the conditions and challenges they will be facing, as part of our ongoing monitoring and assessment of our missions around the world,” says Ron Mark.
“It will also serve to directly acknowledge the service of our personnel who operate in difficult and dangerous environments on behalf of the people of New Zealand.
“Alongside visits into operational theatres, there will be opportunities to exchange perspectives on regional and global security issues with my Ministerial counterparts and other officials, including New Zealander David Shearer, as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General leads the United Nations Mission to South Sudan.
“I’m very happy that Hon Tim Macindoe is able to travel with me. It is important to me that those on the Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade Select Committee, and members of both Government and Opposition parties in our Parliament, are well versed in the work the NZDF carries out overseas” says Ron Mark.